Most of the time, I'll post pharmacy interests. However, it will take tremendous mental fortitude to read my views about pretty much everything.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More about gettin' cheap drugs

I'm pretty new to this blogging (is that a word yet?) idea, so I guess this next blog, while not quite as compeling as some of the others I have read, will be informative. Here's some interesting things about the drug plan I spoke of earlier.
Plan name: United Network of America. It includes basically most pharmaceutical companies. I only know how to get you set up at Walgreens, because they pay me wages. The pharmacist will log onto (yes, you can do this from home too), enter your email (he/she can enter a store number if you don't want your email out there), and your first and last name. The site will provide you with an ID and Group number. Then the tricky part-- oh, wait-- there is no tricky part. That's it!
1. Free to everyone
2. 35-45% savings on Generics
3. Slightly less savings on Brand names (you know, kind of like buying a Toyota vs. a Lexus. same car different badge. the outside might be cooler looking, but the parts are exactly the same and have exactly the same resale value)
4. You can use it if you already have insurance-- just not together with your insurance. It can be used as a supplemental (ex: your Viagra is not covered by insurance-- try this one)
5. There is still a formulary, but it is not as limited as most insurance companies'
6. Phone number is 1-877-321-6755

I promise the next blog will keep you on the edge of your seat (or couch, etc.)

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm Conflicted abou New Drug Plan

So I'm at the pharmacy the other day, and one of my customers proclaims that she's not comfortable paying $70.00 for her son's prescription cream. She doesn't have any insurance, and honestly-- $70 for a cream? Anyway, my technician tells her "don't worry, let me run it under 'UNARX' and see if it will save you any money." Being the pharmacy manager should kind of place me at the pinnacle of pharmacy knowledge, right? Wrong. I ask her what she was talking about (discreetly, of course), still smiling as if I knew what she was doing all along. Here's the deal:
Apparently, our government and the American pharmaceutical companies have been (gasp!) having scones and tea together. They decided to make a new FREE drug discount program to give you great savings out of the goodness of their hearts! Oh yeah-- and to prevent you from buying drugs from little Paris north of our border. (For the geographically challenged, that's Canada). They have been confiscating American citizens' medications when entering the U.S., which hasn't really doesn't make sense, so this is the next idea from the drug think tank.
Anyway, I digress. We placed the customer's phone number in the 'member ID' field, and re-ran the prescription. New price? Drum roll, please.......$33.00!
Uh, I've seen people that have insurance pay $50.00 as a copay for this stuff!
My wife takes the new Generic Allegra (fexofenadine) 180mg, which is not covered by our prescription insurance. (Yeah, I know-- I should have better insurnace.) Anyway, she now uses this plan to save us money on the Brand name! It's cheaper!
Well, I learn something every day, and sometimes my previous knowledge is simply reinforced. I used to stick up for the drug companies. I mean, they spend billions on drug development, right? They can't afford to give you lower costs because they need to recover those expenses, right? Actually, they spend more money on advertising their products on TV than actual development costs for the most part. You know, the ads that tell me I should ask my doctor about Yasmin? I not only want to take Yasmin, but I have a right to take birth control if I want to, right? Hey, honey, check out my new breasts! I must not have listened to the 2 minutes worth of side-effects listed at the end of the commercial. Or maybe I shouldn't have smuggled my drugs in from Canada-- is Yasmin and Yasmine are the same thing, right? I've been taking Vioxx now for over a year. My knee doesn't hurt anymore, but I had a stroke! I'm going to sue for $10M tomorrow anyway. My doctor said it had nothing to do with the fact that I'm obese, over 50, a diabetic, have Congestive Heart Failure, have high cholesterol, haven't been for a walk since I had to find my way to the stage at Woodstock.